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My TEDx Talk: How To Lose 50 Pounds And Keep Them Off

In March, I had the privilege of being invited by the organisers of TEDx UAlberta to present a talk on obesity.

This talk is now online – please take a look and join the discussion on facebook

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If clicking on the image does not work for you, click on this link for YouTube

Edmonton, AB


  1. Gentle critique: Your definition of the professionals who can help, sadly, is too broad, without more guidance. There are practitioners in most (if not all) of the fields you name who operate under the same cultural mythology that keeps women’s and fitness magazines solvent. There are (too many) professionals who believe that permanent weight loss is just a matter of ELMM, and they can help people do that (they have the right motivation techniques, the most satisfying food combinations, or whatever). These professionals may claim that they have a 90 percent success rate, and they believe that’s true because all but 10 percent of their “healthy, trim” clients move on and live their lives and never come back to tell them they regained. Surely, they’d come back if they needed help relosing weight they’ve regained, right? Wrong. Most people end up in someone else’s office. They end up in your office, if they’re lucky. But more likely, they go to someone else who they hope might be successful, more motivational, more wise with regard to food combinations or whatever, and start the ELMM all over. I’m pulling this figure out of my butt, but I think people have only a 25% chance of finding someone like you and a 75% chance of finding someone NOT like you and going through the same process of the-joy-of-weight-loss-followed-by-the-abject- humiliation-of-regain again. And again. And again. Maybe it’s only 50-50. Sigh.

    I think it would be helpful for you to create a list of questions that people who have obesity can use to interview potential professionals they hope will help them, and give them a range of right answers and prepare them for how to handle wrong answers. For example, if you ask a professional if he or she can help you lose 50 pounds permanently, what might be appropriate and inappropriate answers to that question? Moreover, how might a person with obesity help “educate” someone who gives a wrong answer (before moving on to interview someone else)? I think giving people with obesity this tool would empower them.

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    • I WAS one of those MANY front line professionals (RN). This philosophy was part of our Chronic Disease Management training. I have yet to meet or been told of a family practitioner that does not also hold to this philosophy.
      I believe that clients with obesity need to be referred to an obesity expert.

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      • Is there really such a thing as an obesity expert? Around here, the obesity experts are simply bariatric surgery specialists. The regular PCPs do not know enough to treat obesity as a chronic disease, and the diabetes specialists they refer one to simply echo the ADA guidelines, which are not helpful.

        I have had to do the research on my own over the years. I’ve made some interesting discoveries, only to discover the info was known but not discussed or not yet fully explored. It’s frustrating.

        Fortunately I’ve recently found a functional medicine doctor for whom obesity is a subspecialty, but legitimate functional medicine is far from mainstream.

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  2. Perhaps it was preconceived idea of where this would go that’s left so much disappointment, however while you claim there is no cure I’m left baffled. We now know that eating a plant based diet, taking care of our mental and emotional health, and staying active ARE in fact cures or preventative measure that are highly effective. We need to acknowledge genetic weight issues, that make up less then 5% of obesity, but weight issue are a direct result of how we feel and think and the ch open ices we make as a result of that. I know many people that were extremely obese who treated their eating habits like addiction sought help for what caused them to eat that way and changed their lifestyles and diet… no weight gain back. The reason people gain weight after dieting is because they treat those diets like antibiotics that they only need take till they’re better, then life as usual and when behavior and eating habits start back so does weight gain. Ues, I acknowledge not everyone has that same story, but this is in large the problem and cure.

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    • While I agree with you that you can lose weight by some degree of habit, changing, keeping the weight off when your body wants to gain, it back is not as easy as 123 eat differently .
      I was one of those people that was 468 pounds and active. And when I say active, I worked at a horse barn, cleaned stalls, fed horses put on a pedometer, and I had walked 19 miles a day. that’s how active I was now over two years of working there working six days a week, I did lose 120 pounds. That still left me at weighing 300 pounds plus. Working that much. I was starving all the time. It wasn’t until I was able to get surgery and they able to maintain a 900 cal. A day limit was I able to lose enough weight to actually say I was healthy. I am now currently under 200 consistently for 12 years because of surgery the previous 20 years I tried to lose weight by changing my eating habits and adding exercise to my daily routine were futile.
      By telling people that it isn’t genetic, that it’s all because you eat too much, is very similar to telling somebody with type one diabetes to just get over it they don’t need insulin. They can treat it with diet. Or telling a cancer patient to eat whole foods and don’t treat the cancer because it’s their fault.

      We need people to understand that obesity is a disease, it is spread by genetics. And environment. I can say this, looking at my family, and before you say it’s how we were raised, there are genetic links to our family that were adopted , and they to have obesity issues.
      It is likely that it is a hormonal as it is the women in our family that have issues, and usually after childbirth, although it is a manageable issue before childbirth, but after childbirth, it seems that it becomes totally unmanageable.

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